Three Strikes Law and PRR Minimum Mandatory Sentencing
In 1999, the state of Florida created legislation to crack down on “career criminals” who commit multiple violent or serious crimes. This legislation is seen federally as well as statewide, with different interpretations and applications in different places.
In Florida, the “Three Strikes Law” applies only to violent repeat offenders or habitual felony offenders. “Three strikes” refers to the amount of “strikes” an offender can have before they are subject to serious prison time, the third strike being the final “strike-out”, so to say. Contact our attorney at Pallegar Law, P.A. to be connected with an aggressive Sarasota criminal defense attorney to discuss your case in complete confidence at no charge.
The third violent offense requires a judge to adhere to minimum sentencing guidelines, as long as it meets the following criteria:
- The defendant must have two prior violent felony convictions
- Each conviction must have occurred separately and independently of the others
- The current offense must be a violent felony (rape, arson, battery, murder, etc.)
- The current offense occurred when the defendant was already serving a felony sentence, within a period of five years after a felony conviction, or within five years of completing a felony sentence.
- The defendant has not appealed any of their prior felony convictions and/or has not been pardoned.
Once the criteria has been met the judge is required to impose a minimum mandatory sentence on the defendant. If the third strike is a life felony, the court must hand down a sentence of life in prison. If it’s a first-degree felony, the minimum sentence is thirty years. If it’s a second-degree felony, the minimum sentence is fifteen years. If it’s a third-degree felony, the minimum sentence is five years. However, it is important to note that these are only minimum sentences, and that a “third strike” conviction can result in a sentence as long as the law allows. If you have been charged with a violent crime or a drug crime that will be your third strike, contact the best Sarasota defense attorney today.
Florida law also imposes minimum mandatory sentences for people designated as a “Prison Release Reoffender” or PRR. The criteria for this are as follows:
- The defendant must be charged with one of the following crimes: treason, robbery, arson, kidnapping, aggravated battery/assault, murder, manslaughter, carjacking, or any other serious and/or violent felony.
- This new charge must be within three years of the defendant’s release from jail or prison OR
- This new charge must be filed while the defendant was serving a sentence or while on escape status.
If these criteria are met, then the minimum mandatory sentences apply in the same way that they do for “three strikes” offenders/HFO classification. For Prison Release Reoffenders, it is imperative to contact an Sarasota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you hire an experienced and aggressive attorney they may be able to persuade the State not to file formal charges that will trigger mandatory prison sentences.
Call Pallegar Law, P.A. at 941-893-5816 (Sarasota) or 813-444-3912 (Tampa) to be connected with our knowledgeable Sarasota criminal defense attorney.